What To Do When Jawline Acne Won’t Go Away

Jeff Hautala
By Jeff Hautala, Co-Founder of Exposed Skincare

If your skin has cleared up, but your jawline acne is worse than ever, you aren’t alone. This is a very common problem, but luckily, it’s relatively easy to solve once you know what’s going on.

There are various causes of acne on the chin and jawline, also called the “U-zone,” provoked by any number of mechanical factors. However, it can also be an indication of irregular hormone levels.

The better-known “T-zone” is the area of the face including the forehead and nose, known for being particularly acne-prone because it produces more oil, or sebum, than the rest of the face. However, the U-zone can have plenty of acne issues, too.

jawline acne
The jawline typically has dry skin, which can create acne troubles that are different from those on the forehead or nose.

The Relationship Between Dry Skin and Acne

The U-zone is the region of the face that includes the temples, cheeks, jawline, and chin. Unlike the T-zone, this area produces less oil rather than more, so the skin is typically dry. Although excess oil can definitely contribute to acne, not enough oil causes jawline acne as well.

Three Main Causes of Acne

There are three main causes of acne:

  • Inflammation
  • Bacteria
  • Oil production

Oily skin has more acne due to excess oil, but acne in dry skin is more likely due to inflammation caused by irritation.

Dry skin is more likely to become inflamed because it is often more irritated by minor things, such as constant scratching or touching, or even harsh winter air. Overactive oil glands are undesirable, but our skin needs a thin layer of protective sebum.

Inflammation causes the tissue around the pores to swell slightly and prevents microbes from penetrating them. Excess sebum production caused by irritation is another of the body’s protective measures against irritants and bacteria. However, because of the inflammation, extra oil, any dead skin cells, or bacteria already present, get trapped in the pore. This can cause everything from blackheads to cysts and pustules.

how to treat jawline acne
Before and after of jawline acne progress from an Exposed Skincare user.

How To Treat Jawline Acne

Now that you know the basic causes of acne, we’ll tell you right away how to treat jawline acne: A simple skincare routine with non-toxic ingredients. Products like Exposed Skincare’s Expanded Kit will soothe the easily irritated jawline to calm inflammation using natural ingredients like green tea extract. At the same time, powerful acne-fighting actives like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid penetrate pores to deep clean and treat breakouts.

Keep reading to discover the causes of jawline acne specifically, and more info on the best products to treat jawline acne.

The Top 6 Causes of Jawline Acne

Because the jawline naturally produces less sebum, it is easily irritated and acne-prone. There are many reasons the jawline can become irritated and inflamed, but the top six include:

  1. Shaving
  2. Sports headgear with chin straps
  3. Violin playing
  4. Constantly resting your chin in your hands
  5. Disrupted hormone levels
  6. Using the wrong skin products or acne treatments

Shaving and Jawline Acne

There are several factors involved in shaving that could contribute to jawline acne, such as shaving cream, dull razors, or hairs that get left behind. Each of these issues could cause acne anywhere, not just on the chin and jawline. However, because this area typically has dry skin, it’s a common location for shaving-related acne.

If you have dry or sensitive skin, avoid shaving creams. They tend to contain foaming agents and fragrances that can be irritating. Instead, perhaps try a shaving gel. They don’t have any foaming chemicals, and there are plenty of fragrance-free options.

Dull razors can also contribute to irritation. They cause razor burn because instead of cutting the hair, they can bend the hair back into the follicle, which triggers the inflammation response in the body. Also, it can be hard to get a clean shave along the jaw because of its shape, which means you may run the razor across it several times. This repetition can definitely cause irritation.

You can also try shaving in the shower to reduce irritation. The warm water keeps the skin softer and less irritated, and you can more easily and thoroughly rinse off soap and hair after shaving.

Acne Mechanica Along the Jawline

Another primary jawline acne cause is friction and pressure, often caused by playing sports that require headgear with a chin strap, or playing instruments like the violin. This type of pimple is called “acne mechanica.”

Playing the violin or wearing a chin strap causes friction and pressure in that area, a perfect recipe for pimples, especially in dry skin.

How To Prevent Acne Mechanica

First, be sure to wash both your face and your instrument or chin strap before and after every use. This will help to get rid of bacteria, dirt, and extra sebum.

Choose a face wash with low concentrations of salicylic acid to unclog pores like Exposed Facial Cleanser. This will help break up any sebum that got clogged in the pores, but won’t irritate the skin further. That’s because it’s soap-free and hypoallergenic and contains sage extract and pro-vitamin B5 to calm existing irritation.

How To Stop Touching Your Face

One of the biggest causes of acne mechanica is touching the face too much. Sometimes it’s due to popping pimples excessively or incorrectly (Yes, there is a correct way of popping papules!) but during the course of a day, we often touch our faces unconsciously. For instance, we touch our faces when we’re thinking deeply, or feeling bored, stressed, or tired. This can especially affect jawline acne.

Touching the face or holding a phone to your face can make jawline acne worse.

Remember, your hands carry a lot of bacteria, and they produce their own oils. Whenever they come into contact with your face, they transfer those bacteria and oils to your skin, and cause minor irritation.

To stop this habit, start by raising your awareness of it by applying a strong-smelling hand lotion, for instance. Make sure it’s a scent you’re unaccustomed to, so that every strong whiff can raise your consciousness of what you’re doing with your hands.

When your awareness has improved, you can work on preventing this habit. Try using a lotion with a scent you don’t like, or painting your nails when you find yourself getting tired or stressed. It’s a relaxing activity, and you are less likely to touch your face with wet nails.

Hormones Might Be To Blame for Breakouts

Fluctuating hormones, especially in women and teenagers, can cause U-zone pimples. If your breakouts are more severe about a week before a menstrual cycle starts, their cause could be hormonal.

Which Treatments Will Help for Acne Associated with Hormones?

In these cases, medical hormone regulators such as birth control pills or spironolactone might be the answer, but they are prescription-only treatments. So, you will have to visit your dermatologist or doctor for a proper diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment for spots on the jaw. Men can also consider hormonal treatments, but these treatments may come with unwanted side effects, as do all medical treatments. A well-formulated and complete acne treatment system is much safer and often more effective – plus a lot more convenient.

Products That Can Cause Jawline Acne

Many products can cause or exacerbate pimples on the chin and jawline. The skin here is typically drier than elsewhere, so skincare products that work well for your forehead or nose can sometimes cause issues in the U-zone. However, the two main culprits are makeup foundation and abrasive acne treatment products.

Using the wrong kind of foundation or forgetting to remove makeup definitely contributes to breakouts.

When you remove makeup at night, you could forget to remove the foundation applied to the jaw. Makeup can clog pores if it is on the skin too long, so it’s important to remove it gently every night.

Even if you remove your makeup completely, it can still lead to acne if you’re using the wrong kind. This is especially true of foundation. Before buying, check for labels like “non-comedogenic,” “non-pore-clogging,” or “oil-free.” Those are far less likely to clog the pores. Learn about how to choose the best makeup products for acne here.

Not All Acne Products Are Equal

Very abrasive acne treatment products can also lead to more jawline acne. If active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are used in high concentrations, they can make acne worse. Some big companies use irresponsibly high concentrations for immediate results, but these products dry out and irritate the skin quickly, leading to even more severe breakouts. Also, treatments like chemical peels and very abrasive scrubs can exacerbate inflammation, which is bad news for spots.

The Best Products for Reducing Jawline Acne

The most important defense against jawline acne is a consistent skin care routine every day. It’s also important to use the kind of products that are sufficiently gentle with the skin but tough on acne

To battle jawline acne:

Find products that combine acne-fighting ingredients at low concentrations. For instance, salicylic acid is available in concentrations anywhere from 0.5% to 3%, or potentially even higher with a prescription.

Everything you need to fight jawline acne can be found in the Exposed Skincare Expanded Kit. The ideal jawline acne-clearing routine goes like this:

  • Start with the Facial Cleanser that contains powerful salicylic acid at a low dose and combines it with skin-soothing sage extract and pro-vitamin B5.
  • Follow with the Clearing Tonic that uses azelaic acid to prevent bacteria and redness and green tea extract to control sebum production.
  • Apply the Acne Treatment Serum with a small but effective amount of benzoyl peroxide to kill acne bacteria, plus tea tree oil to disinfect and treat blemishes.
  • At night, swap the Acne Treatment Serum for the Clear Pore Serum with another dose of salicylic acid to unclog pores and ingredients to clarify and balance the skin overnight.
  • Finish morning and night with the oil-free gel Moisture Complex to hydrate skin without clogging pores.

Pro Tip: Many people with acne avoid moisturizers because they’re afraid of clogging their pores. However, this is one of the most important steps, especially for acne in the U-zone. Look for one that is water-based, rather than oil or alcohol-based, for the most benefits.

Exposed Skincare products
The Expanded Kit contains products that balance aggressive acne treatment and gentle skin care.